Thursday, May 30, 2013

Calendar Days—June 2013

Last month I continued my end of the month post listing all the crazy special days in the coming month. I always share this info on the last Thursday of every month. So be sure to drop by. Today I’m going to continue with the upcoming crazy and normal holidays in the month of June.

Using the calendar for blog post or even article ideas is a great way to jumpstart your creativity. It's also a fun writing prompt idea. 

Calendar days are also great conversation starters for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Writing Ruined My Wife—A Spouse's Experience at the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference

by Kirk Melson

Edie Melson, Alton Gansky & Eva Marie Everson
As many of you know, my wife co-directs the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian WritersConference (BRMCWC) along with Alton Gansky, and contest director, Eva Marie Everson. 

The conference was held last week in North Carolina. I've figured out the required spousal support really peaks during those conference weeks, and this was no exception. 

What can I do?
I was supposed to attend the banquet on the last night of the conference, but of course I got a call from her, needing me to bring her stuff the day before. So, there I went—shuffling my schedule, gathering our things, delivering the dog, and hustling off to the conference one day early.

Of course, that was only the beginning. I came with the warning that I would need to work in the hotel room during the days. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mixing Work and Pleasure

By Laurie Epps

Memorial Day marks off the unofficial kick-off of summer, but how do you use that time with your writing? Summer for me is often the same as the rest of the year, only hotter. But I'd love to be in a lounge chair sipping on mai-tai's with a cute cabana boy while researching my next novel. For me, that is not reality. Today we're going to talk about combining work and pleasure, and it may spin off some ideas for you that would otherwise lead to a financially difficult fall.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weekend Worship—Righteous Prayers

The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:16b-18

I fought so many fears while our son was deployed to the Middle East. Probably the greatest was that somehow my prayers wouldn’t be enough to keep him safe. I remember one night in particular. I awoke from an unknown dream, screaming in my mind. I was drenched with sweat and had tears running down my cheeks. I couldn’t remember the dream—only the terror—that horrible feeling of helplessness. I looked over and saw 2:52 a.m. blinking on my clock. I could hear my husband’s soft snores, and they reassured me I hadn’t disturbed him. Too often he lost sleep because of my fears.

I knew sleep wouldn’t return anytime soon, so I grabbed my Bible and once again headed downstairs. I settled into my chair in the den and began to thumb through the pages, searching for comfort. I tried to focus enough to pray for my son, but my prayers seemed common, not good enough to inspire God to go great lengths to keep him safe.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Laughter

What sights bring joy to your heart?

Share your answers in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Business Basics for Today’s Writer—Part Five—Cover Letters and Proposals

Today we’ll discuss how to format Cover Letters and Proposals in email. One thing I can’t stress enough is the need to find out if the editor/publisher you’re submitting to will allow emails with an attachment. There is no industry standard. Some publishers allow attachments and others require submissions to be pasted into the body of the email. For our purposes, we’ll assume you’ll be sending an attachment. If they require it to be within the body of the email, just make sure everything is included.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Don't Miss the Selah Awards—Live Streaming at 8pm Eastern TONIGHT!

Today I'm giving Kirk another day off, the play catch-up with his own engineering work.

Truthfully it couldn't have come at a better time. Right now I'm in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

As most of you know, I'm the Co to Director to Alton Gansky. He's the HMOC (head man on campus) this week. Tonight's award banquet is the culmination of a week of connecting with others in the industry and concentrating on going deeper into the craft of writing.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Containing Powerful Emotions

By Laurie Epps

When you're in love, sometimes it's next to impossible to write. The only rubbish you can mumble out is, "I love you, I love you, I love you." What a boring story that makes for your readers. I have to often think of something else to write about, you can't write about love when you are in love. For me, that's next to impossible. But give me a good break-up and I can write about that for hours. Sometimes, the greatest tragedies in our lives makes for the best writing we have to offer.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Social Media Monday—Gain Traction with Social Media instead of Spinning Your Wheels—Part Two

Social media isn’t a fast pass to a super Internet presence. As I said last week, anything worth having takes…well…work. If you didn’t catch last week, click for Part One of Gain Traction with Social Media Instead ofSpinning your Wheels.

BUT that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work at it. It can give you a distinct advantage when you’re looking for a publisher for your book, and when you’re trying to connect to readers for your book.

So what work pays off by helping you gain traction and what is just useless wheel spinning? Today I’m gonna give you what you need to gain traction and move forward.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Business Basics for Today’s Writer—Part Four—How to Format an Email Query

This week I’ll share how to handle an email query professionally. But before I start let me give you difference between a QUERY LETTER and a COVER LETTER.

A QUERY Letter is a letter inquiring (where the word query comes from) if there is an interest in an idea you have. It can be an idea for a devotion, an article, blog post, book, almost anything. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Branding: What's in a name?

By Laurie Epps

As writers we have a need to be heard, a need to be recognized. We have the desire to be out there, and we want to leave our mark on society. But at what cost? There is a huge part of writing that isn't glamourous. It is us, with a pen and paper, trying to reshape the world. The thoughts and ideas are but moments or impressions in our lives that we hope to share with an unsuspecting world. Today I'd like to talk to you about our innate need to be heard, but the path to get there may be spent in seclusion. Prepare for battle. It is time to buckle up.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Social Media Monday—Gain Traction with Social Media instead of Spinning Your Wheels—Part One

“I’m not getting any traction with social media,” is one of the complaints I hear a lot as I travel and teach writers how to connect.

There are a lot of reasons people feel this way, a few are legit, but most are just unreasonable expectations. Today I’m going to address the Unrealistic Expectations, then next Monday, in Part Two, I’ll go over the ways that work to gain traction, and help you get a good read on your actual progress.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Weekend Worship—The Safety of God's Peace

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

I love rainy days—when I have an umbrella.
I love rainy days. The rest of my family are sun worshippers, but I look forward to those cozy days, hemmed with rain and raveled in jagged strips of lightning. 

I especially love walking in the rain. There’s just something comforting in huddling beneath a large umbrella, safe and dry, while the world around me is wet.

It occurred to me that this is a perfect picture of what God does with us. As we move about our days, we’re sheltered by Him. Once we put our faith in God, He becomes our shield—our umbrella in a dreary world. That’s not to say bad things don’t happen, they definitely do. But we’re sheltered by His peace and the knowledge of His perfect love for every single one of us.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—What's Holding You Back?

Last week, I was at a low point, paralyzed by life's events. Jessica Kirkland, my agent, wrote a post on Facebook to encourage her clients. These were the last two lines she shared. God used these words to pull me out of my frozen state and reconnect me with the gift I was born to share. Her words reminded me that I wasn't even truly judging success or failure. My only measure can be obedience. 

What about you?

What's holding you back?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Business Basics for Today’s Writer—Part Three—More on Document Formatting & Common Mistakes

I’ve been working with some new writers recently and have discovered some common mistakes within their manuscripts. Today I want to highlight those because, as I’ve said before, NONE of us was born knowing this stuff!

Two weeks ago I shared some of the macro types of document formatting, today we’re going micro.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Top 9 Ways to Support Your Writing Spouse

by Edie Melson

Kirk wrote the book on how to support a writing spouse!
I’m substituting for my husband today. He’s in Kansas City with his brother, who’s is critical condition because of his heart. All prayers are appreciated! I wish I was there with him, but someone needed to stay behind and take care of business here at home.

Today I wanted to share the top 9 ways to support your writing spouse. This isn’t really a post from what I wish had happened, but ways that Kirk has supported me—all without my prompting. Truthfully, I would not be where I am today without his constant encouragement, prayers, and support.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Writing is Starving

By Laurie Epps

When we don't know what we're going to talk about, it's important to get back to basics. Don't stare at a blank screen. Instead, actively think about what we all need every day. We all need to breathe, eat, and be loved. Our experiences bring a unique array of senses, and as writers it's our job to bring forth those moments. If we get back to the basics, we will become the writers we are meant to be.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Social Media Monday—Top 10 Ways to Get More Twitter Followers

Social Media Tips

I do a lot of teaching about social media online and at conferences all around the country. One of the things I’m asked about the most is how to increase my Twitter followers. I haven’t run into many people who don’t want to increase their numbers, so today I’m going to give you my top 10 ways to get more Twitter followers.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Past Unwritten

Past Unwritten
by Edie Melson

His world once painted in vibrant colors with wide brush strokes
Now gray and indistinct.
Kept alive through stories, discussion, remembrances
Grow dim.

Words, once a rushing river of abundance,
Now trickle through a small stream bed
Stumbling over rocks
Stuttering to a stop in stagnant pools of

An image, once a perfect composition,
Now missing the parts that made him whole.
Awkwardly fit together,
A cruel caricature of the man he
Once was.

Time, once a ribbon unbroken from past to present to future,
Now frayed and torn,
Beyond mending, but precious for the parts
That remain.

Times past, slowly fading, disappear
Into murky shadows,
A book being unwritten
Day by day.

Glimpses of the hero he is
Shine through the dim light in his eyes
Moments of recognition,
Treasures of the past.

I know this is normally where I post my Weekend Worship. But I wrote this as I try to come to terms with the encroaching dementia of someone I love. Perhaps you've found yourself struggling with a similar situation.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Writing Prompt Image—Faithful in Small Things

How has being faithful in small things impacted the big things in your life? 

Be Faithful in Small Things because it is in them that your Strength lies. - Mother Teresa

Share your answers in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thursday Review—Acceptable Words, Prayers for the Writer

by Lynn H Blackburn

Do you ever glare at the blank screen and wonder what to say?

Do you ever stare at pages filled with words you wrote and wonder how on earth you’ll ever know what to keep and what to delete?

Do you ever glance at the “Send” key and wonder if it’s time?

Writers across the centuries have struggled with these same questions.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How Writing Ruined My Wife—No Longer Normal

by Kirk Melson

I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty normal guy. I mean, I’m an engineer, nothing odd about that. and just for the record, in my mind being NORMAL was a good thing!

But early in my wife’s writing career, I noticed that she and other writers referred to being normal in a very odd context. I tried to ignore the overtones of derision, but it became harder as life went on.

Truthfully, when Edie and her friends mentioned normal, I didn’t understand why they found our behavior so funny. To me, not hearing voices seemed a lot more reasonable than hearing them…and admitting it. And going on to assign those voices to imaginary people gets even weirder. Then to finally argue out loud with those made up characters made me think they had all gone a little nuts.